Trade shows are a battleground. The competition is fierce, but you can win the war by creating an experience for your prospects that rises above all others. With some planning and a little forward thinking, you can easily pique the interest of your desired clients. Below, you’ll find several secrets used by leading companies to help you nail your next trade show:

1. Bring on the Swag

It’s no secret that everyone loves freebies, and there will undoubtedly be plenty to go around at the next trade show you exhibit at. To make yours more memorable than the competition’s, you have to do something more than just putting out a box of donuts.

Consider giving away promotional products with your company’s branding on them. Things people use every day like reusable coffee mugs, drink bottles and canvas tote bags will be better received and can help to keep your brand in the forefront of your prospects’ minds.

Bonus tip: offer free wi-fi that prompts users to enter an email address to access it. This is an easy way to generate more leads.

2. Do Your Homework

Not all trade shows are created equal, so it’s essential that you research the event you plan to attend to be sure it aligns with your company’s image and goals. If the trade show is one that takes place annually, check its history to find out what kind of audience it attracts. How much space is available for your booth? Will there be press opportunities? The more you can find out about the event itself, the better prepared you’ll be to make your stall a positive experience for all who stop by.

3. Get the Buzz Going Before the Event

Let everyone know beforehand that you’ll be showcasing your company at the event. Use your website and social media accounts to announce the dates and times you’ll be there in addition to offering sneak peeks into freebies and prizes you’ll be giving away.

Be sure to make your booth number clear in all your postings and include event hashtags to really build anticipation.

4. Put on a Smile and Interact with Passersby

A can-do attitude and a friendly smile go a long way. Even the least-interested person on the planet will have a hard time passing by if you and your staff are enthusiastically greeting everyone.

Have everyone wear t-shirts with your company’s logo on them and keep the positivity going to up the remembrance factor for your brand.

5. Make Your Booth an Experience to Remember

Trade shows can be exhausting for visitors. Offering them a place to get off their feet and relax for a bit can really set you apart from the other companies in attendance.

Set up a lounge area behind your booth complete with a few comfortable chairs, a coffee table or two, and some ambient lighting to create a relaxing atmosphere. Setting up this space behind your booth means that visitors will have to pass by your display to get to it, which can increase exposure and brand awareness.

Some people say trade shows are dead, but the reality is that if you know how to present your brand, they can be extremely helpful in generating leads and gaining valuable new customers. Use the five secrets above to make your next trade show a major success.

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